She who was called barren is in her sixth month….


While my husband was checking out at Sam’s this afternoon, I took a seat in the snack area nearby.  And it was there that it captured me….a tiny, delicately sculpted foot with dimples and miniature toes….a perfect work of art.  I always marvel at that fresh beauty of a baby’s little fingers and toes, appearing almost too perfect to be real…like a masterpiece of purest wax.

This tiny, kicking foot was kissed and cuddled by an adorable little girl of about four, no doubt sister to whom I later saw was a baby boy of a few months, peacefully nursing from his bottle.  And, I didn’t cry.  Those of you who know my story might have expected that.

But not this time.  As I watched the husband and father of this trio gather his family together, I was lost in thought over the wondrous power they possessed.

Do they ever think about such things….these life- bearers entrusted with clothing in flesh the very children of God?   I know that we, the infertile, the barren, probe this mystery in breathless and unending fascination, turning it round and round, in wondrous contemplation.

But what of us?  Are we forgotten, somehow cursed by God, disgraced and covered in shame as once believed not so long ago…and surprisingly, somewhat in our own day.

I think not.  I think not, on this day when we celebrate the Birth of John the Baptist, son of Zechariah and the once hopelessly barren Elizabeth.

And… there were so many others.  So many women with “closed wombs” whom the Lord permitted to suffer the agony and disgrace of barrenness before blessing them with many of His most chosen servants.

Who can forget Sarah, who “laughed” because she was so old, but gave birth to Isaac a year later?  And what of the beautiful Rebecca, wife of Isaac, who had to wait 45 years before conceiving Jacob and Esau?

“Give me children or I shall die,” wailed Rachel, wife of Jacob.  And the Lord heard her cries and she brought forth Joseph and Benjamin.

Why were the wives of these great men of God, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, all afflicted with such long periods of barrenness, before the Lord blessed them with sons through whom He would in turn raise up His people, Israel?

And then there was Hannah, who is remembered for her tears as she cried before the Lord for a child, and was answered and brought forth the great prophet Samuel.

Another barren woman….another great man of God conceived.

There is mystery here.  There is emptiness filled to overflowing.  There is agony and shame brought to glory.

Elizabeth knew the glory, as her once barren womb was filled with the Holy Spirit rushing upon her child of whom Jesus later said, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist.”

But what of us?  What of those women who, unlike our sisters above, will never have fruitful wombs?  Or those who have given birth, but who yearn for more children?  Has God forgotten us?

God never changes.  He is the same God Who heard the cries of Rachel and saw the tears of Hannah….and He has seen our tears, and heard our cries.

I do not pretend to know Why.  But it is enough to know that He Hears.

God Who IS Life and is the Giver of all life must weep when He lays this particular Cross on His daughters, created to give life too.  We must trust in His tenderness, His goodness, His Love.

We can be sure that there is nothing He will allow us to suffer that we won’t rejoice over one day… when we understand.

Meanwhile, let us pray for those struggling with infertility.  Let us pray for the unborn.  Let us pray for couples who stifle their life-giving gifts.  Let us pray for those who have miscarried or lost children in other ways.  Let us pray for those who suffer anguish over past abortions.

And let us rejoice with those who are fruitful, and praise God for every precious life, and for every tiny hand and foot and baby smile.

He expects no less of us…..we who are called to bear the mystery of our barrenness into the Glory of Eternal LIFE….where the mystery will be revealed at last… in His Presence!

LORD, I bow before Your Perfect Will.  It is enough to know that Your Love could find no better path for me than the one I tread.  I walk it willingly into Your Loving Embrace.  Glory and Praise to You forever, Most Holy Trinity!

Some helpful resources for those suffering from infertility: (An inactive blog, but with some beautiful, insightful articles by a Christian blogger bearing the cross of infertility)

20 thoughts on “She who was called barren is in her sixth month….

  1. Patricia…WOW! This was so absolutely beautiful and touching. You have really touched a chord. I was reflecting on Elizabeth last night and what a miracle God blessed them with at her age. It really was a reflection of hope.

    I would love to share this post in full on Hannah’s Tears but not without your permission. I will also ask the moderator there but this is just perfect.

    Let me know either way and have a blessed Sunday.

    • Theresa, thank you so much! You were one I was thinking of as I wrote this. I had no thought of writing it, until I saw that baby’s tiny foot yesterday 🙂 Of course you may share it at Hannah’s Tears…in fact, I just signed on to add a few resource links to my post, and Hannah’s Tears is one of them.

      My other post on infertlity is one of the most frequently read on my blog, so I’m going to try to include more on this topic…in a hopeful, positive way. There are so many women crying like Rachel out there.

      You have a blessed Sunday too, while we rejoice with Elizabeth over her miracle!

      • Bless you Patricia! It would be great to have you share your posts occasionally over there. I am still waiting to hear from Therese the moderator (she is a Secular Carmelite). Sometimes she is a little slow getting back but I will let you know.

        • Theresa, I’m going out of town tomorrow for most of the week. But you are welcome to copy the entire post if you like…and if Therese is interested. (Love that name…how could she not be an OCDS? 🙂 Have a great week! Congratulations again on your anniversary…sounds like you had a lovely time!

          • Theresa, I’m back home again! Thank you for sharing my post on Hannah’s Tears. I see that several ladies have clicked over to my blog from that site. I only wish I could hug each one of them and tell them that they will get through this pain we both know so well. God bless them! What a special place they have in my heart, and I do hope I will have future posts to share on this subject. I remember when I couldn’t stop crying years ago….. But God promises peace, and He keeps His promises! Love you, Theresa xo

  2. Patricia, beautiful post on the cross of infertility, and the reflection on those women who endured this in Scripture, including Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. It was only in the past two years that my blindness was removed to couples suffering from infertility, having shared an office with a woman that educated me, and then of course all the reading I did after meeting her. The quote that stood out the most to me, “The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. . . . Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.”

    Recently I was blessed to hear the homily of a newly ordained priest. He was trying to express that all are called to holiness from all walks of life and in the midst of all types of suffering and challenges. He mentioned the couple that is hurting from the grief of infertility. I was grateful to hear him mention them, especially as his homily was on the eve of Mother’s Day.

    I only remember infertility being mentioned twice before in all the homilies I’ve heard, and then it wasn’t acknowledging the grief or suffering of the woman,

    God Bless you, Patricia! This and the other heartfelt post telling your story, are beautiful, real, compassionate, hopeful, and also poignant because they are written from someone that has suffered this cross.

    • and then of course all the reading I did after meeting her

      I just love you, Colleen! You actually take the time to find out as much as you can about everything you experience (I read your post on For Greater Glory, and learned so much…even though I saw the movie weeks ago!)

      Thank you so much for caring about your co-worker’s suffering, as well as what the rest of infertile couples endure. It really is a grieving process. Even when the monthly ordeal of hope and tears is over, because of surgery or age, one still mourns the children that never were. It is so true that infertile couples are somewhat overlooked by the Church in general. I truly believe that this issue will eventually be addressed in-depth at some point. It’s very sad on Mother’s Day when they give blessings to all the mothers at Mass, but do not pray for those trying to conceive. Before adopting my son, I just dreaded Mother’s Day. I felt so confused and uncomfortable about it…and wanted to run out of the church.

      Thanks for caring enough to really look into this topic, even though you don’t personally struggle with it. Your charity and compassion are beautiful, Colleen.

      God bless you too!

      Love and hugs,

  3. Those beautiful, chubby baby’s feet! How blessed you were to even witness the love between a child and a baby in such a public place. You turned that love between siblings into such a beautiful prayer here, Patricia! You bowed before His perfect will and gave this lovely gift to all of those who read your words. Thank you!

    • Anne, it was funny, because all I could see was one foot and part of a precious little leg, cause mom’s back was to me and she was cradling the baby. Little sis really was precious. She would kiss his feet, and then lean over and seemed to be kissing his face….from my observation point! I’m such a child-watcher! They are so incredibly beautiful.

      When I was writing this post, I thought about you and your hospital, and how they ring a bell whenever a baby is born. What a wonderful celebration of new life! BTW, I cracked up at you recently having to take down some of your “family” pictures in your office. Cardinal Dolan???? I’d love to see your office Anne…I’m imagining wall to wall CATHOLIC! That’s sort of like my house 🙂

      Thanks for the kind words, and thank you for commenting! xo

      • Patricia, my office is definitely wall to wall Catholic. It’s a blessing because I am always afraid that one day someone will complain. I serve people of all faiths and no faiths and all it would take would be for one person to complain and my pictures would have to go. So far, so good! I love it when a little child comes in and looks at my rosary book or gazes at my picture of “The Descent from the Cross” or “The Sacred Heart of Jesus.” I feel that in a small way I am evangelizing while I am at work without using words. And yes, I consider Cardinal Dolan to be family-he’s such a great spiritual father!

  4. This is wonderful. I am especially struck by: “we can be sure that there is nothing He will allow us to suffer that we won’t rejoice over one day… when we understand.” I pray to take that sentence with me, keeping it in my heart.

    • Nancy, I love that line too! Reminds me of Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

      • Thank you, Colleen! It’s the perfect Scripture verse to meditate upon through any suffering.

        Am looking forward to catching up on your very thorough posts, now that I am back from vacation. So disappointed like you, over the Health Care disaster!


    • Nancy, always so good to see you here! Sorry for this belated response…have been away all week, sans laptop 🙂 That sentence you quoted has gotten me through many rough times. And, I especially love that Colleen went right to the Scripture verse which expresses the idea with such beauty!

      Love and prayers,

  5. Only you would have the gentleness of spirit and the eye of mercy to explain that chubby little foot. One day we will understand..but the mystery and the longing that comes from your unique suffering blesses you with insights that help us all understand what we can in our frail humanity.

    Like St John you keep pointing to Jesus, showing others who have suffered what you have experienced, the way through.

    I always see more of Christ when I read your words…
    Love you and blessings always +

    • Dearest Caroline….that you are anyone else could see “more of Christ” in my words….what more could I hope for? Thank you for your precious comment.

      We all suffer, don’t we? It’s like different facets of a beautiful jewel….we each reflect our suffering Lord in a different light. I love those stories about how He measures each cross to fit each person. It’s really true…or rather that He sends the needed graces along with it. With Him, somehow, we get through….and you certainly know that so well.

      You are such a blessing to me! Thank you for all that you have shared, and your courage and strength are truly God’s handiwork in you. He is so proud of His brave and gentle daughter. I love you too. Hugs…and continued prayers for our sons.

    • Lora, thank you…what a priceless gift! Thank you for reading this rather long post. (I seem not to know how to write short ones!) I’m very excited, because a baby is coming my way via my son and his wife 🙂 Very grateful to Our Lord. What a joy it will be to have a little one to hold again! Peace and blessings to you…and prayers too!

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